She is perhaps best recognized for her role as Rosalee Calvert on NBC TV’s GRIMM for six seasons, but Bree Turner is now receiving positive critical recognition for her portrayal in the title role of William Francis Hoffman’s “Cal in Camo,” now having its West Coast premiere on stage in Los Angeles. Directed by Amy K. Harmon, each of the three characters in this story is reaching for something better.
In the opening scene of the play, Turner sets the tone as the sleep deprived Cal, drained and exasperated, desperately attempting to pump breast milk for her newborn baby. She is not able to produce milk. She is not able to feel anything when she looks at her baby girl.
Despite statistics saying that 1 in 8 women are likely to experience the baby blues within the first few months after giving birth, there aren’t many plays or films that tackle the subject. 10 – 20% of new mothers will experience a more severe form of depression known as postpartum depression.
Red Dog Squadron and VS. Theatre devotedly presents “Cal in Camo,” which jumps right in on the subject and delves even deeper into questions about the way humans bond with their original family and with the families that they create. Brad Raider plays the husband, who comes from a large family and he can’t seem to wrap his head around the struggle his wife is having trying to bond with their newborn. He’s flailing in his job and adding to the brokenness that Cal is feeling as he blurts out his disappointment with having to spend money on formula now that her free breast milk has dried up. Tim Cummings plays Cal’s brother who offers solace despite his own distress.
Why would an actress want to work on this project and take on all the intricacies of a role like this? Bree Turner offered a few answers during our recent interview:
Ester: How would you describe the play?
Bree Turner: “Cal in Camo” is a gothic tale of a family in crisis. Each character is navigating through a deep abyss of habitual family identification. Can they each rewrite their story? William Francis Hoffman’s play probes the nature of bonding in family relationships and beyond.
Ester: What caught your attention and made you interested in playing the title role in this production of “Cal in Camo?”
Bree Turner: Cal is at a moment of reckoning in her life. She must speak her truth or perish. That was a very exciting prospect to dive into.
Ester: Where do you land in the nature Vs nurture of mothers bonding with their newborns?
Bree Turner: I am a mother of two children myself. Each child had a very different entry into this world and had a very different mother at that moment because of where I was emotionally and energetically in my life. I did my best with each and struggled with each. Still do. A bond between a mother and child is everlasting and very powerful. We hold a great responsibility in our hands and at the same time…we hold nothing.
Ester: Any similarities between your character Cal and Rosalee Calvert on Grimm?
Bree Turner: Cal and Rosalee are both women that have risen thru the ashes and redefined their lives.
Ester: Why do you think it’s important to have this piece done in Los Angeles, and what kind of feedback are you getting from audiences?
Bree Turner: LA theater is here and it’s happening. There is a deep well of talent and stories and venues to seek out and enjoy. We just have to get the Angelinos out of traffic and into the seats.
Ester: How does it feel to be back on stage, and what’s up next for you?
Bree Turner: Being back on stage reminds me to constantly be taking risks. I love floating thru all mediums. I never like to be defined by anything other than the work I put out there.
“Cal in Camo” runs at 8pm Thursdays-Saturdays, and 3pm Sundays through November 16, 2018. VS. Theatre is located at 5453 Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles, 90019. Tickets are $20 – $35. Reservations: here and more information 323-739-4411
Photos by David Rodriguez
(except headshot of Bree Turner)